Summer of No Rain - Book Review


Summer of No Rain

Author: Laura Hunter
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Date Published: February 7, 2022
ISBN-10: 9781949711837
ISBN-13: 194971182X


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Book Review of :  Summer of No Rain


The novella, Summer of No Rain, by Laura Hunter is historically based on an actual Supreme Court case. While the characters and setting are fiction, the story is well-researched and presented to educate the reader about Jim Crow’s hidden agenda during the 1960s. In the deep south, Black dirt farmers worked for White landowners. The story is powerful and heartbreaking.

The summer of 1968 was one of searing sun, sweat, and poverty. The reader meets an almost 13-year-old Margaret Ann Odom, in the tiny examination room of a free clinic. Margaret Ann is a loving and obedient child. When her mother asks that she accepts the injections prescribed by a Free Women’s Clinic social worker, she complies without a whimper. Supposedly these shots will help her stay healthy. The shots administered to her buttocks and arm are painful but to make things worse they are roughly administered by a hateful white nurse.

After the shots, Margaret Ann returns to her home located at the end of a dirt road leading to a cattle pasture surrounded by barbed wire.  She then has to navigate a path strewn with cattle dung and chicken poop before she arrives at the shanty she calls home. It is near a tiny settlement in southwest Alabama. The community is not a village but a community of Black sharecroppers.

Margaret Ann’s young voice is strong and empathetic as she relates how she doesn’t question the need for the painful shots. Over that eventful, miserable summer with soaring heat and loneliness, she suffers from hip and muscle pain, infected boils, and restlessness. She never complains to her single mother, who wants so much for her. Margaret Ann is a mulatto. The offspring of her Negro mother and the son of the landowner. Her father gradually disappeared from her young life but did send minimal support checks by an employee. She knows who he is, where he lives, and a little of his life but doesn’t consider any interaction with him.

Complicating Margaret Ann’s life is bullying by two older girls and a coldness shown by the social worker. Nevertheless, the narrative demonstrates empathy for the young girl and her impoverished mother as the summer sizzles and the child’s buttocks become more painful. Overhearing a conversation between the nurse who administers the shots and a doctor, she learns that she has what she considers a disease. In reality, she is being subjected to a secretive experimental eugenics program.

Through an expected accident, the social worker becomes involved with the family and is instrumental in exposing the tragedy happening to unsuspecting Black girls. Unfortunately, this is another chapter of a part of history that is ignored and heartbreaking. Laura Hunter pens a distressing but needed narrative about abusive unwitting medical experiments on African American children. The shocking amount of unearthed information she shapes into a riveting, carefully documented book.

Summer of No Rain is a powerful and disturbing portrait of medicine, race, sex, and the abuse of power.

Reviewed by: Carole W

About Laura Hunter


Laura Hunter was raised in Alabama hill country and now lives near Tuscaloosa. She has published sixteen award-winning fiction pieces and nine poems, in addition to the numerous articles published through different media outlets. She has written a collection of fictional short stories focused on Copeland's Crossing, Alabama, which appeared in print August 2020. Beloved Mother, her award-winning novel, was released April 1, 2019.

Visit for more information on Laura Hunter


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